When Fiction Smacks into Reality
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I enjoy all the hot rod build shows on TV. If I had the mechanical skills and money to match my ideas, I would love to make them myself. The final episode of “Fantom Works” involves an extensive rebuild of an old work truck and is a two-part episode. Evidently this will include the installation of a remote-control ramp that will come out of the truck and down to the ground to allow the loading of a motorcycle. I have never seen this done, but I invented such a device for a custom truck in “Triathlon Ride,” my second to last novel. The custom truck also appears in “Farrier Ride,” my last effort. (so far) Can’t wait for the final episode to see how their reality matches up to my creation!
Oddly, their vehicle and mine are both based on an International Harvester truck! What are the odds?
From “Triathlon Ride”
More dark metallic green, with an oblate spherical cream area on the door with the company logo and Bartholomew’s name. On the hood, a reverse hood scoop from a Camaro drag racer from years back, and on each side of that the word “Daphne” in small but elegant pin-striped cream italics.
“I’ll give you the tour. The paint I did myself, now that I have my own spray booth. See that dark finish on the bumpers and headlight surrounds and body trim?”
“That’s a technique known as “Parkerizing,” named after a guy whose name you can guess. It’s sort of like black chrome, and you take care of the finish by oiling it once in a while. Used on a lot of antique guns and weapons, but I’d never seen it applied to a vehicle. It makes for a good starting point when talking to customers.”
“Oh yeah, the Parkerizing is just the beginning.” Bartholomew was not one to brag, but I could feel his enthusiasm for what he had created. It oozed out of him like fresh sweat. He pulled something that looked like a TV remote control from a front pocket of his coveralls. “We shall commence the tour.”
He pushed a button and Daphne’s engine rumbled to life, murmuring peacefully through big exhaust pipes.
“Chevy small block?”
“Excellent guess, Harrison.” He punched another button on the remote and the hood rose silently, revealing a modern fuel-injected engine with “Camaro” announced on the valve covers in red. A 3rd button push popped open the driver’s door to reveal the leather interior. Although the dash appeared stock, I could see that a lot of the more modern controls, such as cruise control and the stereo, were close to hand on the leather steering wheel. Daphne also sported power windows and door locks.
“But wait, as they say, there’s more. Now we get to Daphne’s real party trick.”
We’d strolled to the back, where the extra length eight-foot bed glistened with varnished wood pieces separated by aluminum slats. The center slat was wider, with a slot running down the middle. It seemed to sit several inches higher than normal, so I asked about it. Bartholomew produced a wry smile and punched yet another button on the remote. The bed split in half and rose up vertically on each side, jutting above the original body sides. As this was going on, a second layer was exposed under the wood, this one all aluminum, but with rubber traction surface areas up and down both sides. A shallow notch ran down the middle, and as the sides raised a chock for the front wheel of a motorcycle popped up in place. The tailgate began to move to the rear an inch or so and then slid down until it was vertical behind the Parkerized rear bumper. The entire aluminum bed panel then began to slide backward. As it cleared the back of the truck it gradually leaned down until it rested on the cement floor. The last bit of it was beveled. When all was said and done Bartholomew hit the kill switch on the remote, and now he had a pickup ready to be loaded with his bike. He could easily ride the bike up and into the wheel chock, and then get off and walk back down to level ground. Then the remote would reverse the process. A couple of tie downs could be added for security, although they were probably not needed.
There was a soft click as the hood, released by the kill button, settled back into position.
I said as much, and Bartholomew responded “Getting a bike into a truck can be a bit dicey for a man with an artificial leg. For most of the people who want something like this, it’s just being able to show off. Whatever.”
For more on why the truck is named Daphne, and who Bartholomew is, you will have to purchase the book! $10 in paperback, $5 as an e-reader, or you can “borrow” it for two weeks for free if you are an Amazon Prime member.
Anyway, I am eager to see how the real version comes out on the TV show.
Addendum:ow that I have seen the show, I think my design was far superior! Now to win the lottery and see if a hot rod shop can build “my” truck.